Jul 24, 2014
High expectations – that's what Leesville Road High School's football team faced entering last season.
With the return of Braxton Berrios, who is now playing football on scholarship at the University of Miami, many people expected a lot from the Pride. But when Berrios went down with a foot injury in week five, many had questions.
Berrios' injury happened against Panther Creek. Leesville Road held a multiple touchdown lead when it happened, but ended up losing the game.
The following week, the Pride lost to Heritage the following week, 30-7. Berrios wasn't coming back any time soon though, and that meant someone else had to step up.
Enter Malcolm Hitchcock.
"There are no words to describe it. My team honestly stepped up. It wasn't just me," said Hitchcock.
While he did get help from his teammates, Hitchcock was a big part of the Pride's success last season. Rushing for nearly 1,300 yards, Hitchcock was named the Cap 8 Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
"I was grateful to prove everyone wrong who thought it was just one player on our team," said Hitchcock. "We prepared for it every day and I felt I was ready, I was ready to step into that position, and I was glad I got to step into a position that big and fill it. I think I did a pretty good job, my team backed me up very well. My team did the best job they could do with our best player going down."
On Wednesday, Hitchcock was able to add another accomplishment to his resume. He represented Leesville Road in the N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game in Greensboro.
"There's a great group of guys out here, there's a great staff out here with all the coaches ... I was really privileged, and it was such an honor to be out here," he said.
Hitchcock said he felt privileged because he didn't expect to be in this position.
"It really caught me off guard, but our coaches tell us to be ready for anything. Every coach I have ever had has told me that," said Hitchcock. "I was ready. I was ready to jump in at any time. Any time I need to step up to the plate I do it, that's what they've taught me, and that's what I always try to do."
The experience in Greensboro was something that Hitchcock was able to step back and enjoy.
"You have to take in everything. You have to take in the players on the sideline, you have to take in the practices, you have to take in the relationships that you build," he said. "I came out here and I did my best, and I watched everybody, and I was a great teammate today. My teammates are great, everyone was really great today."
The all-star game marked the end of Hitchcock's high school career, and for him it was the ultimate ending.
"I think it's the best way you can possibly end your high school career," he said.
Hitchcock will play college football at Louisburg College. He has been in Louisburg for about a month preparing for the season.
Follow Nick Stevens on Twitter @NickStevensHSOT
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